10/29/2009 12:00AM

Keeneland roundup




Leandro Goncalves rode three winners Saturday. Two of them were longshots. Rahystrada won the eighth race and paid $32. One race later, in the Grade 2 Raven Run, Goncalves scored with Satans Quick Chick at $48.80. Goncalves' fans must have been on board because the $2 daily double paid $436 compared with $780.80 for the parlay.

James Graham owned the highest ROI among the leading riders through Oct. 25. He was fourth in the standings with nine wins from 79 mounts, but his $3.86 ROI was more than twice as high as the ROI of the three jockeys who are above him in the standings. Robby Albarado was in first place with 18 wins and had a $1.67 ROI. Julien Leparoux was second with 15 wins, and a $1.38 return. Kent Desormeaux was third with 10 wins and had a $1.60 ROI.


Ken McPeek led the standings with 10 wins through Oct. 25, twice as many as Todd Pletcher and Hugh Robertson, who were tied for second with five. McPeek was profitable at $2.21, but Robertson had the biggest ROI of the leading trainers at $3.40.

Jockey-trainer combinations

Robby Albarado was aboard six of Ken McPeek's 10 winners from 22 starts. Their ROI as a team was $2.54.

Other hot combinations: Jamie Theriot/Bret Calhoun with three wins and a second from four starts, with a $6.70 ROI. E.T. Baird/Michael Stidham won both races they teamed up for with a $13.80 ROI. Albarado/John Good also won both of their races together. Their ROI was $13. John Velazquez/Kiaran McLaughlin won two of three with a $15 ROI. Baird and Dale Bennett had two wins and a third from four tries together, with a $10.70 ROI.


Wednesday, Oct. 21

There was no apparent track bias Wednesday. Three of the five winners of the sprint races on Polytrack were located in the rear-half of the pack at the first call. Two of the three Polytrack routes were won by horses who tracked the leaders from third and fourth. One front-runner won a turf route, and the other winner was a closer.

Thursday, Oct. 22

All seven of the winners on Polytrack were among the first three to the first call. Two led at that point, four were second, and one was third. The lone Polytrack route was won by a horse who was second during the early going. The turf sprint and the turf route were both won by closers.

Friday, Oct. 23

Three of the four sprints on Polytrack were won by horses in the front half of their field at the first call. All three of the route races were won by horses who had been located in the front-half of the pack.

Saturday, Oct. 24

Two of the three Polytrack sprint winners were up close early. One led, and the other tracked the leaders in third. The other sprint was won by a deep closer with help from a lively pace. Three of the four route races on Polytrack were won by horses who were in the front-half of their field early. One turf route winner rallied from fourth, and the other was a closer who was sixth early in an eight-horse field.

Sunday, Oct. 25

Two of the three sprint winners on Polytrack showed early speed. One led, and the other was second at the first call. All three of the Polytrack route races were taken by closers. The two turf races were won by horses with early speed. One led early, the other was second at the first call.


Thursday, Oct. 22

Horses with early speed were dominant on Polytrack on Oct. 22, but some closers ran well in defeat.

First Dude made his first start in the third race against a maiden special field at about seven furlongs (184 yards longer). This 2-year-old colt, trained by Dale Romans, was seventh of nine early, dropped back to eighth, then closed ground determinedly to finish second. His performance is better than it looks on paper. Chief Counsel, who beat First Dude by 1 3/4 lengths, was the 3-5 favorite. First Dude was running very strongly at the end of that race and was gaining quickly on the favorite. The fractions of the race were slow, and the final time was not fast enough to yield a high Beyer. Chief Counsel received a 65 for his win, which is 7, 8, and 9 Beyer points lower than the numbers he earned while finishing third, third, and second in his first three starts. First Dude earned a 61 Beyer. He could be dangerous at a square price in his next start if he finds a faster early pace to chase and a track bias that doesn't hinder him.

Mort's Legacy is a 2-year-old colt who made his debut for McPeek in the ninth race, a six-furlong, $40,000 maiden claiming field. He rallied from eighth, 6 1/4 lengths off the pace, to finish third, beaten a half-length. The horses who surrounded him at the finish were assisted by the track bias. The winner was second, a length off the lead at the first call. The second-place finisher was the early leader. Mort's Legacy will be a serious contender if he runs back at a similar class level or lower. The 54 Beyer he earned in this race suggests he would have to improve to be competitive on the jump to maiden special company at a major track.

Mesa Rose is a 2-year-old filly who had an eventful journey when she made her debut for Phil Sims in the third race, a six-furlong, $40,000 maiden claiming race. She rallied along the inside turning for home, angled out to make a run in midstretch, then lost her chance when she was impeded and clipped heels when a filly racing along her inside and slightly in front of her suddenly veered out. She checked hard and displayed a lot of athleticism while avoiding a fall despite a few very awkward strides. She raced in hand from that point and finished third, then was moved up to second on a disqualification. She'll be a threat to beat a similar field next time.

With the excitement involved in the incident with Mesa Rose, it would be easy to overlook the nice performance turned in by the filly who caused the trouble. Miss Hopeful had finished off the board in two previous tries against maiden specials and dropped in for a claiming tag for the first time. She ran a much-improved race, especially when you consider she cost herself momentum when she veered out, causing her jockey to briefly lose his outside iron. She was flying late after being straightened out and finished second, only a neck behind the winner, before being disqualified to third.



Trainer: Shug McGaughey

Last Race: Oct. 23, 6th

Finish: 1st by 5

This 2-year-old filly finished fourth, then third at Saratoga. She added blinkers and finished third going a mile at Belmont. A.P. Indy is a highly rated sire for runners on synthetic tracks, so that might've had something to do with the impressive race she ran at Keeneland when she made her first start on a synthetic track in a 1 1/8-mile maiden special. She showed early speed, was allowed to drop back to fifth while still within striking distance, angled out turning for home, rallied to assume command, then drew off impressively while not being urged late. She earned a 67 Beyer but could have run faster. I'd give her a long look against winners if she returns on synthetic. Perhaps she's just getting good and will run as well on dirt next time, but I'd be more cautious if she returns on that surface. She hasn't raced on turf, but that is an attractive alternative with a 348 turf Tomlinson.

C.S. Royce

Trainer: Dale Romans

Last Race: Oct. 23, 6th

Finish: 3rd by 5

A 2-year-old filly who was adding Lasix in her second career start. She was 10th of 11 early in a 1 1/8-mile race on a day when horses who were located in the front-half of their field at the first call won six of the seven races on Polytrack. She made up ground steadily and was going well at the end when she finished third behind five-length winner Protesting and a nose behind the second finisher. The first two finishers were third and second at the first call, and this filly fought the track bias. She proved she owns more tactical speed than she showed in this race when she was only four lengths behind the leader in a six-furlong sprint in her debut. She can get a better trip if she is asked to stay within striking distance in the early going next time.